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Nelson City Council appoints new Chief Executive

Māpua resident and Primary ITO Chief Executive Nigel Philpott has been appointed to lead Nelson City Council for a term of five years starting on 3 April, Nelson Mayor Nick Smith has announced.

“Nigel comes with strong leadership and management skills following an extensive career in the Royal Navy in the UK and the Royal New Zealand Navy, roles in the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Education and most recently the Primary ITO,” Mayor Nick says.

“Nigel has been appointed because of his strong people skills and a track record of improving staff engagement. He has strong business acumen that will help Council get good value for money for ratepayers. He has a natural affinity with our region and the social and environmental issues facing it. His knowledge of the marine sector will also support my vision of Nelson capitalising on our links with the ocean.”

Nigel’s appointment follows a thorough recruitment process that started last November and ended when elected members resolved last Thursday to appoint him in the top job. His recruitment comes as Council works on a governance reset following a particularly challenging year in 2022 with COVID-19 disruptions, the devastating storm in August, the local elections and big changes around the Council table. Former Chief Executive Pat Dougherty concluded his contract in December after more than 20 years’ service at Council.

Nigel says he is looking forward to starting work at Civic House.

“I fell in love with the Nelson-Tasman region in the 1990s, saw the opportunities for an unparalleled lifestyle and later bought a home at Māpua,” he says. “Taking on the Chief Executive role and having the opportunity to help shape the future alongside a highly talented senior management team and staff was too hard to resist.

“During these challenging times, with issues such as the high cost of living and raft of local government reforms, I see my role as empowering staff and having a laser-like focus on delivering good value-for-money services to the ratepayers of Nelson.”

Nigel holds a BA in Economic and Political Geography, a Master’s in Strategic Studies and a Master’s in Human Resources. He is also a voluntary Chair of Birthright Wellington. His interests include flying, paragliding, mountain biking and boating.

Mayor Nick says he looks forward to working with Nigel to provide the combination of leadership and teamwork to ensure Council delivers for its community.

“I want to acknowledge interim Chief Executive Lindsay McKenzie and his support through the appointment process,” Mayor Nick says. “Lindsay has been leading staff since Pat’s departure, is keeping Council’s work on track and will finish as CEO on 2 April.”


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